Domination in relationships is not new. For reasons sometimes unknown, couples try to control each other’s lives, dominating how they spend their finances, their free time and whom they spend it with, and so much more.
It is why we see toxic relationships all around us, where love and trust are very scarce.
Being in a relationship with a controlling partner can prove to be unhealthy.
It results in constant feelings of guilt and intimidation in the controlled partner, which slowly affects their personality.
In the long run, the victim might become depressed and constantly anxious.
These effects are displayed by their grumpiness, intermittent explosive disorder, which is commonly known as fits of rage, and introversion.
Desperation has pushed individuals into said situations, where some even enter into a commitment with a controlling partner knowingly.
Though women are no exception, the controlling behaviour is more common in men.
Often times we have misjudged them, with our actions either stirring more conflict or doing no good in helping them better themselves.
Some cases of control are quite extreme, where it is sometimes better to walk away or get external help.
In this post, I will highlight reasons why your man might have the tendency to control you.
If you are married or dating a controlling partner, I will also let you know what you can do to protect both yourself and him, and whether your relationship can be salvaged or not.
Let’s dive right in…
Reason # 1: Insecurity
Insecurity is one of the most powerful driving forces behind a man’s desire to control the woman in his life.
It stems from a deep fear of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence.
Insecurity often manifests in obsessive behavior, such as incessantly checking your phone or seeking constant reassurance of your love and attraction to him.
His desperate need for your approval becomes all-consuming, causing him to isolate himself from any social life outside of your relationship.
At first, you might interpret his attention as a sign of affection, making you feel special and truly loved.
However, as time goes on, his compulsive behaviors may start to take a toll on your own social life and personal freedom.
As his insecurity escalates, you may find yourself increasingly isolated from friends and family.
He may try to exert control over your interactions, monitoring your conversations and becoming overly possessive.
This controlling behavior not only restricts your autonomy but also creates an unhealthy imbalance of power in the relationship.
What to Do
Empathize and try to see things from his point of view.
Constantly give him reassurance that he is worthy of your love and attention, and spend a reasonable amount of time with him.
However, be cautious of manipulation, such as him taking you on guilt trips whenever there is an issue.
Reason # 2: Jealousy
When a man experiences jealousy, it often stems from a deep fear of losing the person he loves or feeling inadequate compared to others.
This intense emotional response can lead to controlling behaviors as an attempt to protect his perceived territory and maintain a sense of security in the relationship.
One possible trigger for jealousy is when a man believes that you work closely with a colleague or friend whom he perceives as superior to him.
This insecurity can arise from feelings of inadequacy, where he fears that you may develop a closer connection with this person and ultimately choose them over him.
As a result, he may resort to controlling behaviors in an attempt to limit your interactions and maintain his perceived dominance.
Past relationships can also contribute to feelings of jealousy.
For instance, if you have resolved issues with an ex-partner and are now in touch again, even on a platonic level, it may trigger jealousy in your current partner.
He may struggle with the idea of you reconnecting with someone from your past, regardless of the nature of your current relationship.
In response, he may try to exert control over your interactions with your ex or even limit your communication, driven by his fear of losing you.
In extreme cases, jealousy can manifest in controlling behaviors that severely restrict your freedom.
Your partner’s jealousy issues may become so severe that he denies you the simple act of smiling at a male attendant or expressing any form of kindness or friendliness towards other men.
This level of control is not only unhealthy but also detrimental to your emotional well-being and personal autonomy.
What to Do
Talk to your man, and make him understand that what you both share is special and there is no cause for alarm.
Avoid running to another man to share your worries whenever you get into a confrontation.
Sometimes his jealousy is so deep-seated that he cannot just get over it. It is your job to give him peace of mind.
What if he forbids you from talking to any other man but himself and even becomes abusive?
This is where you should run without looking back. You have a social life and a career to protect, but his jealousy might someday turn physical.
Reason # 3: Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is another significant factor that may contribute to a man’s desire to exert control over a woman.
When a man has low self-esteem, he tends to be highly self-critical and harbours negative thoughts and expectations about himself.
This negative self-perception can stem from various sources, such as dissatisfaction with his physical appearance, financial struggles, or past relationship failures.
Low self-esteem and controlling behaviour are not mutually exclusive—in fact, they often go hand in hand.
A man with low self-esteem may exhibit traits of insecurity and jealousy, as he constantly seeks validation and reassurance from his partner.
These behaviours stem from a fear of not being good enough or losing the person he loves.
What to Do
Complement him regularly, and pay attention to him when he’s expressing himself.
Be careful with your words as a simple statement is enough to send him to the lion’s pit.
Giving him assurances and making him feel ‘manly enough’ will go a long way in making your relationship easy.
You may also want to read: Breaking up with a Man with low self-esteem: Here’s what to Expect and What to Do
Reason # 4: Societal Expectations
Throughout history, men were traditionally seen as the hunters and providers, responsible for taking charge and ensuring the safety and well-being of their partners and families.
This traditional gender role and the associated power dynamics can influence a man’s behavior, leading him to seek control as a means of boosting his own masculinity.
While some men may take this desire for control to an extreme, it’s important to acknowledge that there can be underlying intentions of protection.
In their minds, they believe that by exerting control over you, they are safeguarding you from potential harm or making decisions that they perceive as best for both of you.
This protective instinct, however misguided it may be, stems from a deep-rooted fear of being incapable of fulfilling their traditional roles.
The idea of you roaming freely in the world can trigger a sense of inadequacy and insecurity in some men.
They may perceive it as a reflection of their own perceived shortcomings or inability to protect and provide for you adequately.
Accordingly, they may feel the need to control your actions, choices, and even career paths.
This is one of the reasons some men make career choices for their wives, or even ask them to quit their jobs and become full-time moms.
What to Do
Make him understand that things have changed and that your respect for him as the head of the family is not affected by your career.
Also, remind him that a woman’s respect should come from a place of love, not fear and domination.
If he gets physical and cites ‘societal expectation of a man’ as a reason, you should get help through hotlines and focus groups.
Reason # 5: To Satisfy His Ego
We are all aware of the ‘male ego’, which is said to be a man’s greatest enemy.
The male ego is often fueled by societal expectations, cultural norms, and personal insecurities, creating a constant need for the man to feel superior and maintain a sense of power in the relationship.
When a man’s ego is at play, he may be driven to ensure that he always takes the spotlight and maintains a dominant position.
He may feel threatened by any attention or recognition you receive, as it challenges his ego-driven need to be seen as superior.
He expects you to remain submissive, quiet, and compliant, as a way to validate his own sense of superiority over you.
By asserting control and demanding your obedience, he attempts to quell these insecurities and reinforce his perceived superiority.
It may become a cycle of seeking validation and reaffirmation of his ego, even at the expense of your own autonomy and well-being.
What to Do
Do not be afraid to hurt his ego if it’s affecting your relationship.
Let him know that you are not something he can possess and suddenly take control of.
If this toxic environment is affecting you psychologically, it is best to take your leave.
Reason # 6: Having Been Controlled In The Past
It’s possible that your partner has experienced situations in his life where he felt powerless or lacked control over his own decisions and actions.
These past experiences may have left a lasting impact on him, leading to a lingering sense of vulnerability or insecurity.
As a result, he may seek to compensate for those feelings by attempting to exert control over you.
It becomes a way for him to regain a sense of power and security in his life.
By controlling your actions, choices, and behaviors, he may feel a temporary relief from his own past experiences of being controlled.
What to Do
Talk to him and try to see where he is coming from.
If it was a traumatic experience, you can support him in getting the help he needs.
You can also let him know how his taking control of your life is affecting you.
Being controlled in a relationship is a form of bully.
However, it is important to know the cause before deciding on what actions to take.
The bottom line is: do not settle for domination.
Even though control might come from a place of love, its psychological effects may make you emotionally dependent.